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26 April, 2006

Citizenship Foundation calls for a national strategy for citizenship education

The Citizenship Foundation this morning called for the implementation of a National Strategy for Teaching and Learning in Citizenship whilst giving evidence to the Education and Skills Select Committee.

The Committee, meeting for its inquiry into citizenship education, also heard evidence from Association for Citizenship Teaching, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) and the Learning and Skills Network (LSN).

The inquiry is looking into the current position with regard to citizenship education almost four years after the introduction of citizenship education to the national curriculum.

This meeting looked to explore feedback from key organisations working in the field. Issues of time, training and attitudes towards the teaching of citizenship education were discussed as was the benefit of formal qualifications versus (or in addition to) community participation. Questions around the teaching of citizenship education in Faith Schools, City Academies and Independent Schools were also raised.

Tony Breslin, Chief Executive of the Citizenship Foundation, stressed the need for a coherent National Strategy for Teaching and Learning in citizenship, a call echoed and supported by ACT, the QCA and the LSN.

Tony added that this strategy would need a stronger infrastructure to ensure the continued growth and future success of citizenship education. He raised the need for Ofsted to give special attention to the status accorded to citizenship when inspecting schools and the need for secondary school inspection teams to include trained specialists.

Government Ministers, he urged, needed to ensure that a higher status is given to citizenship education as well as for all secondary schools to have a trained citizenship specialist by 2010.

Tony also emphasised the need for school activities based around volunteering and charitable activities to be positioned in relation to the citizenship curriculum.

The development of a coherent nationally coordinated approach would be an important step in raising the status of citizenship education, and strengthen delivery through initial teacher training and continued professional development in the area.

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